Americans like to think of themselves as first in everything. We like to think that we are first in baseball, football, and basketball, and we are. We also like to think that we are first in education and health care, but we are not. We pay more per capita than any other people living in an advanced economy, but we perform woefully.
Not surprisingly, Americans also like to break barriers with firsts. We like to think that Obama is our first black president. He is a first but only as a mulatto. When we elect someone with two black parents as president, then we shall have our first black president. We can look forward to that first.
Other firsts on the national scene: Madeleine Albright, our first female Secretary of State; Colin Powell, our first “black” Secretary of State; and, the topper, Condoleezza Rice, our first female and black Secretary of State—all firsts, none distinguished. Albright lent her name to nothing. Powell lent his name to a lie. Rice lent her name to piano recitals.
Another first on the national scene: Alberto Gonzales, the first Hispanic Attorney General. This Bush family pet is best known for pre-senile memory lapses about torture, spying, firing federal prosecutors, and who know what else. Does anyone think that the American Hispanic community is proud to claim him as their best?
The only thing to be said for these four appointees is that they were firsts in breaking the gender, racial, and ethnic barriers to the positions to which they were appointed. Someone has to be first, but I have my doubts about appointing someone to be first to break a barrier. Is it not better to select the best first and then celebrate the first second?
Now to the local scene: Waded Cruzado, heir-apparent to the presidency of NMSU. This puppy, dividing her love between two masters, Michael Martin and Bob Gallagher, fawned her way to the top. Ardent feminists urge her presidency because of her two primary qualifications, gender and ethnicity. Unlike Gonzales, whose memory losses and ethical lapses became public only after he had become Attorney General, Cuzado’s are already known. Thus, last year’s unfulfilled promise, when she was Provost, to conduct an investigation of, and make a public report on, the sex-race-pornography harassment cabal in the College of Health and Social Services. How perverse is her feminist support!
So, even before the presidential search begins again, feminists concede that being first is more important than being best. They also concede that Cruzado is not good enough and thus needs all the gender and ethnic credits which she can muster to distract from her defects and deficiencies. I wonder whether feminists will abandon her when she proves to be unfit or defend her by alleging bigoted obstruction and criticism.
If NMSU must hire a mediocrity for president, let it do so fair and square, without sexual, racial, or ethnic bias.